UPMC Physician Resources

Certain Advanced Breast Cancer Patients May Benefit From Surgery Before Other Treatment, UPMC-Advised Study Finds

San Antonio, Dec. 11, 2013 – Patients newly diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and a solitary bone metastasis could benefit from  surgery prior to other treatment, according to early results from a first-of-its kind clinical trial presented today at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

“In the U.S., approximately 5 percent of breast cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease when they first see their physician,” said Atilla Soran, M.D., a breast surgical oncologist with Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and the study’s lead investigator. “Around the world, that percentage can go as high as 10 percent. Current standard of care recommends avoiding surgery in these patients and prescribing systemic therapy and radiation therapy instead. Previous research, however, has shown that surgery can actually prolong survival in other advanced cancers and we wanted to see if the same held true for breast cancer.”

As a Turkish native, Dr. Soran approached the Turkish Federation of Societies for Breast Diseases about conducting a clinical trial to test the survival benefit of such a treatment approach. In 2007, under scientific advisement with UPMC, the trial launched.

The study enrolled 278 patients with advanced breast cancer from across Turkey, 140 of whom underwent breast cancer surgery. The primary goal of the study was to assess whether early surgical treatment in women with advanced disease could affect overall survival.

“Our initial results don’t show any difference in survival rates, but we are early in the follow-up phase,” said Dr. Soran. “However, we did notice that one patient subgroup – patients with a singular metastasis to the bone – is trending toward prolonged survival.”

Patients with aggressive forms of the disease, and patients with multiple metastases on the liver and lungs, derived less benefit from the treatment approach.

“Breast cancer isn’t just a U.S. concern – it’s a global disease. We will continue our follow-up and reporting from this clinical trial for several years to come, and hopefully our study will help women here at home and abroad by improving our understanding of how to best treat it,” said Dr. Soran.

This study was sponsored by the Turkish Federation of Societies for Breast Diseases.

Recent Reproductive Coercion Associated with Unintended Pregnancy, Says Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Expert

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 10, 2013 – Birth control sabotage and pressure to become pregnant by male partners, also called “reproductive coercion,” in the past three months is associated with recent unintended pregnancy among adolescent and young adult females utilizing reproductive health services, according to a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC study that will appear today in the online version of Contraception.

The study adds to the growing body of research on how abusive relationships increase young women’s risk for pregnancies that are unwanted and unplanned, said lead investigator Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s.

“More than half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended and can result in poor health for mothers and their infants,” said Dr. Miller, also an associate professor of pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We need to pay attention to ways in which male partners may influence women’s reproductive decisions. Clinicians providing reproductive health care should discuss reproductive coercion in addition to physical and sexual violence in relationships to help women reduce their risk for pregnancies that are mistimed, unwanted, or unplanned.”

More than 3,600 English and Spanish-speaking women ages 16 to 29 at 24 family planning clinics in western Pennsylvania from October 2011 to November 2012 agreed to respond to a computerized survey about their experiences with relationships and pregnancy. They were asked questions about birth control sabotage, pregnancy coercion, and intimate partner violence, including the questions: “Has someone you were dating or going out with ever taken off the condom while you were having sex so that you would get pregnant?” and “Has someone you were dating or going out with ever told you not to use any birth control?”

Five percent of respondents reported reproductive coercion in the past three months and 12 percent reported an unintended pregnancy in the past year. Among those who reported recent reproductive coercion, 21 percent reported an unintended pregnancy in the past year. The association occurred independently of any history of reported physical or sexual violence in the relationship.

“The finding that reproductive coercion occurring around the time of a clinical encounter is associated with increased risk for unintended pregnancy, independent of physical or sexual violence, provides critical evidence in support of reproductive health providers assessing for reproductive coercion in addition to physical and sexual violence during routine reproductive health visits,” said Jay Silverman, Ph.D., professor of medicine and global health at the University of California, San Diego, a co-principal investigator and senior author of this study.

“Health professionals should ask about both reproductive coercion and violence in relationships during clinical encounters with their female patients and offer women longer-acting, reversible contraceptives, as well as referrals to domestic violence services, to help decrease their risk for pregnancies that are unwanted and increase their options for safety,” said Dr. Miller. “At the same time, we need to redouble our efforts to educate adolescents and young adults that behaviors like interfering with someone’s birth control or refusing to use condoms are not aspects of a healthy, respectful relationship.”

The findings also highlight the importance of clinics that provide reproductive health services as sites for identification, assessment and interventions for young women to reduce harm related to intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion. These clinical settings can serve as a connection to support services and prevention education to increase women’s safety and reduce pregnancy risk.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant R01HD064407.

Collaborators with Dr. Miller on the study were: Heather L. McCauley, Sc.D., Sc.M., and Heather A. Anderson, B.S., both of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Daniel J. Tancredi, Ph.D., UC Davis School of Medicine and Center for Healthcare Policy and Research; Michele R. Decker, Sc.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Jay G. Silverman, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

For more information on Dr. Miller, visit www.chp.edu.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Named to Leapfrog Group’s Elite National List of Pediatric Hospitals that Provide Highest Levels of Safety and Quality

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 4, 2013 – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is one of only 13 pediatric hospitals in the nation named to The Leapfrog Group’s 2013 class of Top Hospitals, based on the results of a survey that measures hospitals’ performance in patient safety and quality.

While several agencies and organizations collect and publicize hospital quality data, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, now in its 12th year, sets a high standard for comparing hospitals’ performance on the national standards of safety, quality and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care. The survey provides a comprehensive picture of how patients fare, what resources are used to care for patients, and how management promotes safety and quality.

“Our primary goal is to deliver the highest quality of care in the safest, most efficient manner possible utilizing state-of-the-art technology and a family centered care philosophy,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “Being named a Leapfrog Top Hospital is an indicator that we are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

Children’s is a pioneer in the development and use of an electronic medical record (EMR) system, which was implemented in 2002. This system, which electronically stores each patient’s full medical history, has drastically reduced potential medical errors and streamlined processes, making Children’s one of the nation’s most progressive children’s hospitals.

“The field of hospitals considered for this year’s elite Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction was more competitive than ever. By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

Children’s was selected as a Top Hospital out of a record number 1,324 hospitals participating in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. The list includes 22 Top Rural Hospitals, 55 Top Urban Hospitals, and 13 Top Children’s Hospitals. The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use, and management structures in place to prevent errors.

In addition to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the 2013 Leapfrog Top Children’s Hospitals are:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota St. Paul
  • Children’s Mercy Hospitals South Campus
  • DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus
  • University Hospitals – Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

Pitt Unlocks Trove of Public Health Data to Help Fight Deadly Contagious Diseases

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 27, 2013 – In an unprecedented windfall for public access to health data, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers have collected and digitized all weekly surveillance reports for reportable diseases in the United States going back more than 125 years.

The easily searchable database, described in the Nov. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, is free and publicly available. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project’s goal is to aid scientists and public health officials in the eradication of deadly and devastating diseases.

“Using this database, we estimate that more than 100 million cases of serious childhood contagious diseases have been prevented, thanks to the introduction of vaccines,” said lead author Willem G. van Panhuis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. “But we also are able to see a resurgence of some of these diseases in the past several decades as people forget how devastating they can be and start refusing vaccines.”

Despite the availability of a pertussis vaccine since the 1920s, the largest pertussis epidemic in the U.S. since 1959 occurred last year. Measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks also have reoccurred since the early 1980s.

“Analyzing historical epidemiological data can reveal patterns that help us understand how infectious diseases spread and what interventions have been most effective,” said Irene Eckstrand, Ph.D., of NIH, which partially funded the research through its Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study. “This new work shows the value of using computational methods to study historical data — in this case, to show the impact of vaccination in reducing the burden of infectious diseases over the past century.”

“We are very excited about the release of the database,” said Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director, Discovery and Translational Sciences, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We anticipate this will not only prove to be an invaluable tool permitting researchers around the globe to develop, test and validate epidemiological models, but also has the potential to serve as a model for how other organizations could make similar sets of critical public health data more broadly, publicly available.”

The digitized dataset is dubbed Project TychoTM, for 16th century Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe, whose meticulous astronomical observations enabled Johannes Kepler to derive the laws of planetary motion.

“Tycho Brahe’s data were essential to Kepler’s discovery of the laws of planetary motion,” said senior author Donald S. Burke, M.D., Pitt Public Health dean and UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair of Global Health. “Similarly, we hope that our Project Tycho disease database will help spur new, life-saving research on patterns of epidemic infectious disease and the effects of vaccines. Open access to disease surveillance records should be standard practice, and we are working to establish this as the norm worldwide.”

The researchers selected eight vaccine-preventable contagious diseases for a more detailed analysis: smallpox, polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis. By overlaying the reported outbreaks with the year of vaccine licensure, the researchers are able to give a clear, visual representation of the effect that vaccines have in controlling communicable diseases.

“Infectious disease research is critically dependent on reliable historical data to understand underlying epidemic dynamics. However, my colleagues and I repeatedly find ourselves digging out historical datasets from various sources in different states of preservation,” said Dr. van Panhuis. “By digitizing and giving open access to the entire collection of U.S. notifiable disease data, we’ve made a bold move toward solving this problem.”

The researchers obtained all weekly notifiable disease surveillance tables published between 1888 and 2013 — approximately 6,500 tables — in various historical reports, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. These tables were available only in paper format or as PDF scans in online repositories that could not be read by computers and had to be hand-entered. With an estimated 200 million keystrokes, the data — including death counts, reporting locations, time periods and diseases — were digitized. A total of 56 diseases were reported for at least some period of time during the 125-year time span, with no single disease reported continuously.

“This work by the Tycho Team is remarkable and represents the next step in making government data accessible and useful,” said Bryan Sivak, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services chief technology officer and entrepreneur in residence. “This is a great example of how our policies on open data and public access accelerate the use of computer-readable data by researchers and application developers to create new tools and provide valuable insights into the nation’s health.”

All these data now can be explored and retrieved by everyone on the Project Tycho Web site www.tycho.pitt.edu. The open access release of these data has ignited a collaboration with the United States Open Government Initiative and, in the near future, the Project Tycho database will be available on the HealthData.gov Web pages.

“Historical records are a precious yet undervalued resource. As Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, we live forward but understand backward,” explained Dr. Burke. “By ‘rescuing’ these historical disease data and combining them into a single, open-access, computable system, we now can better understand the devastating impact of epidemic diseases, and the remarkable value of vaccines in preventing illness and death.”

Additional co-authors on this paper include John Grefenstette, Ph.D., Su Yon Jung, Ph.D., Nian Shong Chok, M.Sc., Anne Cross, M.L.I.S., Heather Eng, B.A., Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., M.B.A., and Shawn Brown, Ph.D., all currently or formerly of Pitt Public Health; Vladimir Zadorozhny, Ph.D., of Pitt’s School of Information Sciences; and Derek Cummings, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant 49276 and NIH grant U54GM088491.

Improved Pediatrician/Parent Communication Could Yield Stronger Adolescent Health Outcomes, Pitt Study Finds

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 26, 2013 – Improved communication between pediatric providers and the parents and guardians of adolescents could lead to better health outcomes, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study reports. The findings are available online in this month’s Patient Education and Counseling.

Between June and November of 2009, Aletha Akers, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Pitt and the study’s lead author, and her research team administered an anonymous, self-reported questionnaire to a sample of 358 parents accompanying their adolescent children on visits to general outpatient pediatric clinics at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to assess the main health issues concerning their adolescents.

The questionnaire relied on the parent or guardian’s ability to recall their conversations with their adolescent’s health care provider on a range of preventive health topics including nutrition, mental health, physical activity, sexual activity and substance abuse. According to Dr. Akers, most parents could recall discussing at least one adolescent preventive health topic with their adolescent’s care provider. They were much more likely to recall discussing general prevention topics like physical activity and nutrition than they were to recall discussing more sensitive topics like sexual activity, substance abuse and mental health issues.

“Adolescence is a relatively healthy period of life, and most adolescent morbidity comes from participating in high-risk behaviors. Most preventive health conversations between parents and providers take place during early childhood, but such communication is arguably even more important during the adolescent years, when adolescents’ health choices could directly influence health outcomes,” said Dr. Akers.

“Ideally, these results are the first step toward improving communication between pediatric care providers and parents and guardians,” Dr. Akers added. “By building on tools we already have in place, we can improve conversations about high-risk health behaviors, including incorporating screening and counseling practices into acute care visits or visits for school physicals, since many adolescents miss their annual well-child check-ups. The use of electronic medical records can remind care providers of essential health topics that need to be discussed with adolescents and their guardians.”

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health grant number KL2 RR024154-03, and by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Joel Schuman, MD, Interviewed by the Macular Degeneration Foundation

During the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting, Joel Schuman, MD, was interviewed by the Macular Degeneration Foundation about the cutting edge programs at UPMC and the Fox Center for Vision Restoration. Watch Dr. Schuman’s full interview:

Please direct any follow up questions for Dr. Schuman to EyeCenter@upmc.edu

Children’s Community Pediatrics Now Offers 24/7 Access to Care for Common Illnesses through On-line Video Appointments

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 25, 2013 – Families in Pennsylvania now can access Children’s Community Pediatrics (CCP) board-certified pediatricians for many common illnesses day or night through a virtual visit using a computer with a webcam.

These new pediatric virtual visits, part of UPMC AnywhereCare, are just one part of an expanded MyUPMC.com online patient portal providing access to UPMC’s world-class care to anyone located in Pennsylvania. Through UPMC AnywhereCare, children ages 3 and older can be evaluated and receive treatment for many common symptoms and diagnoses from CCP pediatricians through a video connection 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

MyUPMC.com builds on UPMC’s existing patient portal known as UPMC HealthTrak. Parents seeking a Children’s AnywhereCare visit for their child will need to have a “proxy” relationship established prior to seeking online care. The proxy provides parents with access to view their child’s health information online and access online care. Parents who do not have a UPMC HealthTrak account or established proxy can sign up online at https://myupmc.upmc.com or speak with their CCP provider.

After requesting a virtual visit through the portal, a scheduler will call within 15 minutes and schedule a video appointment with a board-certified CCP pediatrician, typically within one hour. Conditions that currently are being evaluated and treated are cold, cough and conjunctivitis (pink eye). The cost of a UPMC AnywhereCare visit is a flat fee of $38. Patients who have UPMC Health Plan coverage may pay a lower co-pay amount for their child’s virtual visit.

“These conditions might not rise to the level of a trip to the emergency department, or even to the physician’s office, but can be challenging for families to deal with because it can cause kids to miss time from daycare or school and parents to miss time from work for appointments,” said Kathy Guatteri, president, CCP. “UPMC AnywhereCare allows them to have their children evaluated by a board-certified CCP pediatrician with quick, convenient access to treatment. It also can provide continuity of care with a child’s CCP pediatrician, since the virtual visit automatically becomes part of the child’s electronic record at UPMC.”

For more information or to schedule a UPMC AnywhereCare virtual appointment, please visit https://myupmc.upmc.com/.

Teens Who Drink Alone More Likely To Develop Alcohol Problems as Young Adults, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18, 2013 – Most teenagers who drink alcohol do so with their friends in social settings, but a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh reveals that a significant number of adolescents consume alcohol while they are alone.

Published in an upcoming issue of Clinical Psychological Science, the researchers found that compared to their peers who drink only in social settings, teens who drink alone have more alcohol problems, are heavier drinkers and are more likely to drink in response to negative emotions. Furthermore, solitary teenage drinkers are more likely to develop alcohol use disorders in early adulthood.

“We’re learning that kids who drink alone tend to do so because they’re feeling lonely, are in a bad mood, or had an argument with a friend,” said lead author Kasey Creswell, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who completed the research while at Pitt. “They seem to be using alcohol to self-medicate as a way to cope with negative emotions and, importantly, this pattern of drinking places them at high risk to escalate their alcohol use and develop alcohol problems in adulthood.”

Previous research has shown that adolescents who drink alone consume more alcohol and drink more frequently than their social-drinking peers, and that heavier alcohol use in adolescence is associated with a greater risk of developing alcohol problems in adulthood. This study is the first to determine whether solitary drinking during teenage years impacted the development of alcohol use disorders as young adults, after controlling for other known risk factors.

For the study, the researchers first surveyed 709 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 at the Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC), asking them to report on their alcohol use in the past year. Adolescents represented youth from clinical treatment programs and the community. When the participants turned 25, they were again asked about their alcohol use and assessed for alcohol use disorders. The results showed that 38.8 percent of teens in the sample reported drinking alone during ages 12 to 18. This behavior was linked to unpleasant emotions, and solitary drinkers were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at age 25.

“Because adolescent solitary drinking is an early warning sign for alcohol use disorder in young adulthood, and solitary drinking tends to occur in response to negative emotions, youth who report solitary drinking might benefit from interventions that teach more adaptive strategies for coping with negative emotions,” noted Tammy Chung, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and co-author of the study.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Mental Health funded this research.

For more information, visit http://www.psy.cmu.edu/people/creswell-kasey.html.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation Continues Support of Pitt Investigators with New Funding for Personalized Medicine Research

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18, 2013 – In the last five years, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) has provided research support for scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) with nearly $2 million in funding for breast cancer research with the potential for clinical application. That support continues this year with $720,000 provided to three researchers investigating ways to improve treatment and survival outcomes for women with breast cancer.

Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter; Adrian V. Lee, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Cancer Research Center (WCRC), a collaboration between UPCI and MWRI; and Steffi Oesterreich, Ph.D., director of education at WCRC, have each received $240,000 from the foundation this year. The awards are part of $45 million in grants to breast cancer researchers announced at the BCRF 2013 Symposium and Awards Luncheon in October.

Dr. Davidson’s laboratory will use the funds to continue studying the role of epigenetic changes in breast cancer development and therapy.

“We know that breast cancer results from an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes in the cancer cell. Because epigenetic changes alter gene activity but not the genes themselves, they potentially could be reversed. We are evaluating ways to counteract these changes as a new way to treat breast cancer,” said Dr. Davidson, a recipient of BCRF funding for 15 years.

The goal of Dr. Lee’s laboratory is to improve the prediction of breast cancer prognosis and its response to treatment. His first award from BCRF will support research investigating the differences found within breast cancers.

“We’ve known for some time that there are different types of breast cancers,” said Dr. Lee. “Now we are trying to understand how differences within the breast cancer tumor operate. One tumor can have an area of aggressive disease and an area of benign disease. We need to determine the importance of the aggressive disease. Understanding the differences within breast cancer tumors will help us refine personalized treatment approaches for breast cancer patients.”

This is the third consecutive year Dr. Oesterreich has received an award from BCRF supporting her research investigating invasive lobular carcinomas (ILC), which represent 30,000 cases of breast cancer each year.

“The study of ILC-related breast cancer currently is underfunded, so the support I receive from BCRF is particularly important,” said Dr. Oesterreich. “Currently, patients with this type of breast cancer receive the same type of treatment as patients with other subtypes of the disease, but some patients with ILC don’t respond as well to endocrine therapy. We hope improved understanding of the disease will lead to better, targeted treatment for patients.”

In addition to the grants awarded this year, the BCRF provided the initial funding for the Women’s Cancer Research Center.

“Without the support of the BCRF, our breast cancer research wouldn’t be nearly as robust as it is,” said Dr. Davidson. “We share the vision of a future free of breast cancer, and this funding will bring us one step closer to that goal.”

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Opens Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18, 2013 – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Rehabilitation Institute will open an eight-bed pediatric inpatient rehabilitation unit this week. The unit will provide continuity of care as well as maximize the health and functional outcomes of children after injury, illness or surgery.

The Children’s Hospital inpatient rehabilitation unit will be located at The Children’s Home & Lemieux Family Center, less than one mile from Children’s main campus on Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville. The unit will be called the Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Unit (CHRU).

While the CHRU is not located inside Children’s Hospital, it is a Children’s Hospital unit and will raise Children’s licensed bed count from 296 to 304. The CHRU will operate under Children’s policies and procedures, be staffed by Children’s employees, and physicians from all specialties at Children’s will be available for consultation.

“The CHRU will bring together a team of experts from multiple disciplines to offer advanced therapeutic treatments for our patients,” said Amy Houtrow, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., medical director of Children’s Hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute and of the CHRU. “We plan to provide continuity of care to children and adolescents needing intensive rehabilitation services, and to provide high-quality, comprehensive rehabilitation services to pediatric patients. One of the benefits to patients will be the ready access they will have to every medical and surgical subspecialty at Children’s.”

Candidates appropriate for the CHRU include children and adolescents with acquired brain injury; amputation; disabling neurological conditions; medically and/or surgically complex conditions with weakness after a prolonged illness or hospitalization; polytrauma, or multiple trauma; and spinal cord injury. Every referred patient from Children’s will be evaluated by a rehabilitation coordinator, who will give the family other options if the child is not determined to be appropriate for the CHRU.

The CHRU will be staffed by experts in these fields:

  • Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
  • Behavioral Psychology and Neuropsychology
  • Care Management
  • Child Life and Recreational Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Rehabilitation Coordination
  • Social Work
  • Special Education

“This is exciting for Children’s because we will now have the opportunity to see pediatric patients through their entire hospital journey; all the way to their return to home, school and the community, which will improve continuity of care,” Dr. Houtrow said.

Location information:

Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Unit
5324 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

For more information on the CHRU, please call 412-692-9800 or visit www.chp.edu/chru.

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